Life in KC

The Big Show: A$AP Ferg at the Midland

JASON GOODRICH

Sunday, June 12 at the Arvest Bank Theater at the Midland

When A$AP Mob first turned the hip-hop community on its collective ear in 2011, A$AP Rocky seemed like the most promising member of the New York clique.

Handsome and stylish, Rocky combined the sounds of Houston hip-hop and New York street rap on underground hits like the psychedelic “Purple Swag.” The fledgling career of his gruff co-conspirator A$AP Ferg seemed like an afterthought.

The underdog status of Ferg, a man born Darold Ferguson Jr., didn’t last long. Ferg’s hard-hitting 2013 hits “Work” and “Shabba” made Rocky’s efforts seem comparatively soft.

Ferg’s appearance as an opening act for G-Eazy at the Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland in January made it clear that he was on the verge of outstripping Rocky and many other prominent hip-hop stars. Almost everyone in the audience dominated by suburban youth enthusiastically rapped along with Ferg’s barbarous material.

He’ll have an impressive new batch of songs to perform on Sunday. Ferg’s latest release, “Always Strive and Prosper,” is a cohesive song cycle that’s worthy of comparison to the classic Wu-Tang Clan album “Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers).” The fresh material includes volcanic bangers (“New Level”), motivational pop (“Strive”) and silky R&B (“I Love You”).

The underlying premise of the album is that Ferg has made the transition from his former title of Trap Lord to the even more momentous appellation of Hood Pope. Hip-hop enthusiasts will eagerly kiss Ferg’s ring on Sunday. Tory Lanez and Madeintyo open the show.

8 p.m. Sunday, June 12. Arvest Bank Theatre at the Midland. 816-283-9921. midlandkc.com. $27.50 in advance.

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